US Capitol Police are on the scene with tear gas as protests erupt during the electoral vote count.
In some of his sharpest language to date, President Trump on Wednesday attacked fellow Republicans for failing to support his push to reverse his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden in November’s election.
The president, headlining a large rally of Trump supporters near the White House billed as the "Save America March," took aim at what he called "the weak Republicans."
"The weak Republicans, and that's it. I really believe it. I think I'm going to use the term the weak Republicans. You got a lot of them," Trump said in a speech coming an hour before the start of a joint session of Congress to certify Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College victory.
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a rally Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Trump claimed that some Republicans have "turned a blind eye even as Democrats enacted policies that chipped away our jobs, weakened our military, threw open our borders and put America last."
The president then urged the crowd to "get your people to fight. And if they don't fight, we have to primary the hell out of the ones that don't fight. You primary them. We're going to let you know who they are. I can already tell you, frankly."
Trump, as he’s tried unsuccessfully to upend the election results in a handful of states where he was narrowly edged by Biden, has lashed out and urged primary challenges in recent weeks against some Republican leaders for refusing the assist the president. His explosive language appears to be sparking a serious divide in the GOP, which could have major implications in the 2022 midterm elections, when the Republicans will try to recapture both houses of Congress and expand their control of the governorships.
A top target for Trump is GOP Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who was a strong Trump supporter.
The president called Kemp the "pathetic governor of Georgia" and urged the crowd to "vote him the hell out of office, please."
Trump also indirectly targeted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Whip John Thune of South Dakota – the top two Republicans in the chamber – for opposing the move by Trump supporters in Congress to object to the certification of the Electoral College vote at the joint session of Congress.
Trump charged that "you better start looking at your leadership because your leadership has led you down the tubes."
And the president once again blasted Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking Republican in the House and a Trump critic.
Trump stressed that "a year from now, you're going to start working Congress and we got to get rid of the weak Congress people, the ones that aren't any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world. We got to get rid of them."
The president, at the rally, once again repeated his unfounded claims that he won the presidential election "in a landslide. This was a landslide." And he repeated his charge that "this election was stolen from you, from me, and from the country."
He also repeated his vow that he "will never give up and never concede" to Biden.